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The Story of DAMIANO the Elephant

A domesticated Elephant released back into the wild……

Damiano  the elephant that has been part of the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary for over ten years.  He started showing more and more inclination to interact with the Wild bull elephant.  Damiano would sometimes leave the Sanctuary and spend time in the wild with his new friends – one time he spent three months away.  So in July 2008, the staff

 at the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary decided to release Damiano back into the wild that he seemed to long for.  

With the assistance of a Botswana based NGO, called Elephants Without Borders, they fitted the elephant with a satellite collar, and walking him a short way from the Sanctuary set him off on his  journey into the wild.  He left them and made his way into the bush and his new found friends.  For the next nine months, Damiano stayed within a small range of about 9kms to 12kms from the place where he was released.  

After a few initial attempts at raiding the local people’s crops and causing a few problems in the rural area the staff from the Sanctuary had to deter him and he soon learnt this was not acceptable and moved away from the villages.

He is monitored through his collar daily as to his movements and activities.  He has been seen many times with  two or anything up to seven other wild elephant bulls.   But when the rains came and the wild elephant moved off he decided to stay within his comfort range and did not go with them.

In mid April 2009 – there was some wonderful news, Damiano had decided it was time for him to leave the comfort range and go further afield.  He set off on a game path and headed west, until he finally found his way into Botswana.  The range from Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary is about 72kms.  His new home for the moment until he decides to move on is in a small valley near the Kazungula border of Botswana and Zimbabwe – but for now he seems happy and enjoying the new area. 

Botswana has a very good wildlife conservation programme in place – and it is a relief for the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary staff that Damiano is now there.  They will continue to monitor his movements and progress – in the wild.

Their words to him …. Be big and brave Damiano, - it is a harsh world out there but you wanted your freedom – enjoy it!  

Damiano the elephant....

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